Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have no visible symptoms. Lots of STIs are treatable. Although the highest rates are in young adults 15 to 24 years of age, STIs are a risk at all ages.
Whether you are having sex or thinking of having sex, you need to know how to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (OPH):
- Always use latex or polyurethane condoms or latex barriers (dams) during sex (including oral sex).
- Only use a water-based lubricant with latex condoms, as an oil-based lubricant will cause the latex to break.
- If using sex toys, use condoms and dental dams to help prevent the spread of STIs. Proper cleaning of sex toys is necessary to avoid transmission of STIs.
- Get tested once a year and before you have sex with a new partner or if you think you may have an STI.
- Inform your partner(s) if you test positive for an STI.
- Limit the amount of alcohol or drugs you use before you have sex. Alcohol or drugs can affect your decision-making and negotiating skills. This may put you at an increased risk of getting an STI.
STI Testing at UOHS and other locations in Ottawa
The ONLY way to know if you have HIV or another STI is to get tested. Regular testing is an important part of sexual health. Knowing if you have an STI is the first step to keeping yourself and your partners healthy.
STI and HIV Testing at UOHS
- By appointment: Call the clinic at 613-564-3950 or book an appointment (often available that same day) for STI and HIV testing with your family physician or nurse practitioner. If you don’t yet have a family physician at UOHS you can register online and then book an appointment.
- Walk-in clinic: If you cannot book an appointment, visit the UOHS walk-in clinic on the 1st floor at 100 Marie Curie.
- UOHS Health Promotion (UCU 203): FREE Rapid & Anonymous HIV Testing is available on Wednesdays (see our calendar). Testing is offered in partnership with Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC). Drop by UCU203 or call 613-564-3950 ext. 290 to book your appointment.
STI and HIV Testing is also available at these locations in the Ottawa Area:
- Ottawa Public Health Sexual Health Centre, 179 Clarence Street, 613-234-4641
- Somerset West Community Health Centre, 55 Eccles Street, 613-238-8210
Are you at risk? Should you get tested? Take the test!
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and the HPV vaccine
Human Papillomavirus is among the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Canada and worldwide. Many types of HPV have been identified, with some leading to cancer and others to skin lesions like ano-genital warts.
The Gardasil vaccine is available to help prevent infection with some types of HPV. It offers protection against the HPV types that are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers.
The Gardasil vaccine is available at the University of Ottawa Health Services, either in our walk-in clinic or by appointment with your family physician or nurse practitioner.
HPV Vaccination Info for Students:
If you have coverage under your parent or partner’s health plan, your HPV vaccinations are eligible for partial or full reimbursement by your insurer.
HPV vaccinations are NOT covered under the basic UHIP health plan.
Follow your doctor’s advice regarding the optimal time to get all three vaccinations and contact your insurer for more information about your insurance coverage for HPV vaccinations.
For more information on HPV and the HPV vaccines: